Where to stay in California
Whether you're heading to California's cities, wine regions, beaches, mountains or desert resorts, hotels in California are world-class, ranging from boutique properties to upmarket spa retreats. There is still a range of cheap California hotel options if you're on a budget. Homestays or couch surfing are becoming common practices, and are a great way to enjoy a private home in California at a fraction of the price.
Resorts: Luxury resorts abound in California, especially on the coast and in Napa and Sonoma Valleys. Resorts in Los Angeles and San Diego tend to be smaller but no less luxurious, and often serve as second homes for Hollywood producers, directors, and actors. Swimming pools, outdoor bars and restaurants, and magnificent gardens are all par for the course at a California resort.
Bed and breakfast
California has a wealth of bed & breakfast inns to choose from, housed in homes, country cottages and historic buildings. A full breakfast is typically included in the price of a room. Bed & breakfasts are much smaller and more intimate than a typical hotel option.
California's multitude of state parks, beaches, recreation areas, KOA and private campgrounds is a real boom for camping fans. Some camp sites are worth booking in advance as they are available on a first-come, first-served basis. The warm weather in California makes camping an option throughout the year, though the night air can get chilly. RVs (recreational vehicles, or camper vans) are available for hire and welcome throughout the state.
Homestay Accommodations: Websites like Airbnb, Craigslist, and CouchSurfing have made housing rentals or homestays an affordable and attractive option for travellers, especially those with families or those who want to stay in one place for more than a week. References, photos, and common sense are all required to make these types of arrangements work for the home owner and the traveller.
Youth Hostels: Youth hostels are not as prevalent or popular in the United States as they are in Europe, but there are still good and affordable properties to be found, especially with Hostelling International. Extra caution should be taken in Los Angeles, where hostels can be grimy and overtaken by American runaways.
Unique Accommodation: For those heading to California to enjoy Disneyland, part of the magic is staying in the Disney District, a sprawling hotel complex with accommodations from villas to suites to standard rooms. Families can stretch out in multi-room suites or honeymooners can enjoy a private villa with spa access. Tickets to Disneyland and Disney California Adventure Park are often included in the price of a room.
Cabins: If you're going to California's ski resorts like Lake Tahoe, consider hiring a cabin, particularly if you're travelling in a large group. Cabins are a good choice for visitors who want to stay close to the ski areas while enjoying privacy in the rustic pine forest. Try to book a cabin with an outdoor hot tub and wood stove for extra comfort and fun.